50 Photos of Pakistan that you won’t see in the news

By Joan Torres 14 Comments Last updated on April 24, 2023

Wanna travel to Pakistan with Against the Compass?

We have one scheduled expedition this summer to North Pakistan. 14 days driving the Karakoram Highway, and exploring offbeat valleys of Shimshal and Astore.

August 13th to 26th

Pakistan is in fashion.

Backpackers and travelers alike from around the world are realizing that Pakistan is not only a beautiful country, but it can offer some of the most ultimate adventures.

Despite this recent massive increase in popularity, however, Pakistan is still miles away from being a proper tourist destination and proof of that is that still today, most people can only relate Pakistan to negative things, such as terrorist attacks, Taliban activities and Islamic radicalism.

I partly attribute these negative associations to the Westen media, which has done nothing but portrayed the worst face of Pakistan, especially since the 9/11 attacks.

That’s why, in this post, I wanted to show you 50 photos of Pakistan that you won’t see in the news, because Pakistan is simply awesome.

Also, don’t forget to read my travel guide to Pakistan

Pakistan is the only country home to the 4 highest mountain ranges on Earth, including the Himalayas, the Karakorum, the Pamirs and the Hindu Kush.

In fact, the second-highest mountain in the world is found in Pakistan, K2 (8,611meters) and it belongs to the Karakoram range.

Another mind-blowing mountain you can find in Pakistan is Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters) and it belongs to the Himalayan range. Have you ever watched 7 years in Tibet? Well, the mountain they try to climb at the very beginning of the movie is Nanga Parbat. It is one of the most complicated summits to climb but today, you can easily reach its base camp.

Besides those internationally famous mountains, Pakistan is also home to several dreamy valleys and which you don’t want to miss. I spent 2 months backpacking in Pakistan, and spent most of this time in the mountains. Here are some of my favorite pics.

Rakaposhi base camp, camping at around 3500 meters above sea level, right next to a giant ice wall, from where we could hear the continuous sound of avalanches
Same place as the previous photo, but from over a ridge, at the bottom of mount Rakaposhi (7,778 meters)
Here we are at Nanga Parbat base camp. Absolutely mind-blowing
This is also Nanga Parbat (8,100 meters) a couple of kilometers before the base camp
In Pakistan, we walked over glaciers full of crevasses, the first time in my life
These are the kind of glaciers we walked through. The man in the photo is a local Pakistani mountain guide
Climbing a glacier with some Thai friends
Pakistan, however, is also home to beautiful lush green valleys. This is Swat, in Kalam district
Same place, Kalam, in Swat. The region of Swat has big similarities to Switzerland. This is one of my most favorite pictures.
Hanging out in a hotel in Swat. It looks like a dreamy hotel, and it really was but seriously, it was just a very basic shack in the middle of the mountains
In Swat, you find some of the most beautiful forests in the country
Rocking my salwar kameez, somewhere in the Swat Valley
Beautiful Swat Valley ๐Ÿ™‚
Somewhere in the Astore Valley. With some local, Pakistani friends, we went for a long fishing weekend
The Astore Valleys sits on the other side of Nanga Parbat
And it links to Pakistani Kashmir, which you will reach if you follow this trail
What I loved about the Astore Valley is that you get pretty damn amazing views but also, those mountains are filled with tiny villages, so you get in touch with the local culture as well
Enjoying my time in a local village in Astore Valley
During the day, my Pakistani friends spent all day fishing. I spent some time fishing with them in the morning but then, I was exploring the surroundings just by myself
Epic views in the Astore Valley
Looking over Astore Valley. I really love this picture
I absolutely love these human encounters. Those moments make me feel very happy when I am traveling
Or this one
I mean, isn’t that beautiful? Being able to explore those striking mountains and, at the same time, being the only tourist in a place full of hospitable, kind-hearted locals
Check out this tiny settlement
Exploring the Astore Valley was perhaps, my best experience in Pakistan

Pakistan is also famous for the Karakoram Highway, one of the highest paved roads in the world that links Islamabad with Kashgar ( China), and also goes over Khunjerab Pass, one of the highest border crossings in the world, around 4,600 meters.

The Karakoram Highway
From the Karakoram Highway, you get to see bridges like this one
The views from across the previous bridge
Or these mountains, perfectly visible from the window of your car
Traffic jam in the Karakoram Highway. And you will be able to see plenty of Pakistani trucks
The main town in the northern part of the Karakoram Highway is Karimabad, inhabited by the Hunza people (an ethnic group who practice a very moderate branch of Islam) and home to Baltit fort
Same, but a different perspective
More photos of the Karakoram Highway
And more
This isn’t the Karakoram Highway but it is a crazy side road that leads to Fairy Meadows, close to Nanga Parbat base camp. The beginning of this road is at a junction in the Karakoram Highway

But Pakistan is not only about landscapes, but also beautiful people who will be continuously blessing you with their hospitality, and the thing you will always remember the most when you get back home, are the interactions with the local people.

Expect, literally, hundreds of house, lunch, dinner and tea invitations.

Local Pashtuns, in Peshawar
These guys are just fucking awesome
The people here are truly authentic
And street photography opportunities are great
You not only get to see the Himalayas but also camels and beach!
I met these 2 guys in Astore Valley
And the cultural diversity is also great. This is a Kalash woman, an ethnic group from northwestern Pakistan with traditional, pagan beliefs
And this Hollywood-actor looking man is from a very remote Pakistani village, right across the Afghan border

And then, of course, you get all mosques and shrines Pakistan is famous for. You may already know it from the news, of course, but, did you know they were so beautiful?

This is Bdashi mosque, the most impressive mosque in Lahore
And then you have this Sufi shrine in Multan. Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam
And the second most important mosque in Lahore, Wazir Khan
This isn’t a famous mosque but I like it. You can find it in Chitral
This photo might be more similar to what you have seen in the news but still, it’s fucking awesome

More information for visiting Pakistan

Donโ€™t forget to check our travel guide to Pakistan.

As well as all our Pakistan articles:


So proud of my country and so thankful for people like you who promote the goodness of and in Pakistan ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!

Thank you my dear Joan, for updates and posted pictures the same which existing nature of our land.
Pakistan has resumed now for all tourism activities. Autumn color is approaching very fast. Welcome to all nature and adventure travelers.

I bought a one-way ticket to Pakistan to wait out Covid. I have a friend who is going to help me find an apartment in Lahore or Islamabad. I’ve been eating up your blog posts and am very thankful for all the information/pics- thanks so much! I will leave next week. Do you have recommendations for which time of year to visit different areas- I’m wondering especially how long I should hold off before I travel to Gilgit. Should I wait until May/June if I want to visit the base camps, so that it’s warm enough?

Thanks again,

Hi Seth,
I ‘m Sherbaz a tour guide in Gilgit. Spring season is on head. It will start next and will be end 15th May in different areas of Gilgit Baltistan.
May is the best option to do Rakaposhi Base Came trek.
Please do let me if you would need my assistance.

Joan Absolutely lovely pictures, I had no idea Pakistan was so beautiful itโ€™s definitely my next tourist destination Iโ€™d love to take my Harley and enjoy the gorgeous countryside thanks, john

Hello John,
This is Sherbaz from beautiful land of Gilgit Baltistan.
I’m a local guide here to take people for trekking and amazing Tour in the mountains communities. Here is very beautiful landscape and diversity culture.
For any kind of information please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thank you

Yeah thanks Iโ€™m really looking forward to coming to Pakistan to travel and to meet lots of lovely people from this beautiful country,

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